Cougar Crest Trail, Big Bear Lake
Also known as Bertha Peak Trail, this is a challenging trail in the Big Bear Lake area with commanding views of the lake.
The hike is about 7 miles round trip and may take up to 4 hours to finish. It is considered moderate difficulty.
It starts from Cougar Crest trailhead neat the Discovery Center. If you park at the trailhead, you will need an adventure pass. Alternately, you can take advantage of the free parking at the center and walk to the trailhead. This will add 1-mile to your hike.
Tip: It is a rocky trail with some steep inclines. Make sure to wear hiking shoes, and bring your hiking poles.
The hike is a steady climb while you gain about 1400-feet of elevation. It gets harder towards the top due to rough-rocky terrain. But you can start enjoying gorgeous views of the lake and the snow-covered mountains around the 2-mile marker.
The Cougar Crest trail joins the Pacific Crest Trail at the 2.5-mile point and takes you the rest of the way to Bertha Peak.
Tip: In the summer it can get hot up in the mountains. Bring lots of water with you.
The trail is mostly shady at the beginning with good tree cover, but the trees thin out towards the top. About halfway up, there is a conveniently located bench with a great view - a great place to rest and enjoy the sights.
Tip: In colder months, even without snow, the peak can get very cold blustery. You will need a jacket.
At the Peak, you have an unobstructed view of the mountains, valley, and lake below. Take a picnic, relax and enjoy the view.